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Ghana and Uganda boost trade with EU through plant health projects


In Ghana and Uganda, many farmers rely on growing vegetables and flowers for income, which are then sold European markets. However, EU interceptions of produce contaminated by pests have restricted, even prevented, trade from continuing. Two projects have helped dramatically improve sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards in Ghana and Uganda reducing interceptions in one case to nil. The projects have revitalised trade and, in the case of Ghana, helped a trade ban be lifted, boosting access to EU markets.

The story

Many people in Ghana and Uganda rely on growing vegetables and flowers for income. Two projects, implemented by CABI, have helped both countries massively reduce harmful pests in their produce, enabling them to boost their trade – and, in one case, overcome a trade ban – with the EU. 

The EU has high sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and turns away produce containing pests. In 2013, it made 36 interceptions of Ugandan flowers and, in 2014, 330 interceptions of Ghanaian fruit and vegetables – all due to pests. 

In Ghana, smallholders rely on fruit and vegetable trade for income. At nearly 40% of GDP, agriculture is the largest sector of Ghana’s economy. In Uganda, flowers are a profitable business. The sector achieves exports of around US$30m annually. 

However, smallholders and growers in Ghana and Uganda face barriers to selling fruit, vegetables and flowers due to plant pests. Increasing pest management knowledge is essential for boosting sales. 

From 2012 to 2021, CABI led and partnered on projects in Ghana and Uganda. The projects shared CABI’s expertise in crop health and value chains and trade. They strengthened smallholders and growers’ ability to improve the quality of their produce and helped those working along the value chain to meet international market standards to increase sales. 

In 2021, CABI reported on the Ghana project’s impact. It helped to reduce interceptions to only 11 in 2020. The project played an important role in lifting a European Commission ban of Ghana’s produce in 2018. This enabled exports worth US$15m to start again. 

Last year, CABI conducted an evaluation of the Uganda floriculture project. The report revealed interceptions had been reduced to zero in 2018. Knowledge shared with staff on the flower farms was instrumental. By tackling pests, both Ghana and Uganda have grown their trade with the EU. 

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.

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Vegetable exports from Ghana resume after work to improve phytosanitary system

CABI’s work in partnership to improve Ghana’s phytosanitary systems means vegetable exports worth $15 million a year are continuing once again after the lifting of a Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission ban imposed in 2015.

15th January 2018

Related projects

Phytosanitary system development for the vegetable sector in Ghana

Ghana’s vegetable sector has the potential to create 20,000 skilled jobs, and increase exports to the EU. But exports are hampered by quarantine pests. This project aims to improve the current system and develop a new organic supply chain by establishing an effective phytosanitary system, facilitating strategic alliances between importers and producers/ exporters, and investing in technical expertise to help producers and exporters meet quality standards.

Start: 01/05/2015 End: 31/07/2021